PurposeViolence directed at ambulance paramedics has attracted increasing public attention because of its major negative impact on the physical and psychological well-being of victims and productivity of organisations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of violent incidents, contributing factors, burnout and post-traumatic symptoms among paramedics.Design/methodology/approachA cross-sectional survey was distributed in two ambulance services in Tasmania and South Australia, with self-administered instruments completed online. In total, 48 respondents completed questionnaires.FindingsThere were no significant differences between sites in timing of violent incidents, consequences of traumatic events or organisation provision. Surprisingly, over 90 per cent of paramedics had not been pushed, slapped, beaten, scratched or spat on in the previous month. There was a statistically significant difference between genders for being yelled at or verbally abused (p=0.02). When considering burnout, female paramedics showed significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion t(37)=–2.32, p=0.02 and lower levels of career satisfaction than their male counterparts, t(37)=3.32, p=0.00.Originality/valueAlthough prevalence rates of violent incidents seemed lower than expected, policy interventions to encourage female paramedics to display their professional identities and steps to enhance well-being and safety while on duty should be considered.
International Journal of Emergency Services – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2017
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